Working at Home: Finding the Balance

28 APR 2020

Eye health

It’s a very different world with most of us working from home.

According to a global workplace survey 88% of us have been encouraged or directed to work from home in order to limit the spread of COVID-19.

For most of us who haven’t worked from home before it’s a change that takes some considerable adjustment trying to balance both family and work needs.

It can be great. You can minimise workplace disruptions, work in your around-the-house clothes, hang out more with the family, avoid traffic and save money. What is there not to like!

Of course, there are some down sides.

People can feel isolated and believe they’re working too much. Time working from home can eat into family and personal time, it can create communication issues with colleagues and clients, it can become your sole focus, you can become easily distracted by your home environment and working from home can cause isolation and loneliness.

So, how do we find the right balance?

Time Management

It’s important to manage your time like you would a normal workday. Have set start and finishing times and take breaks, like you would in the office, or take a longer lunch so you can get outside and exercise. A daily work schedule helps you become more productive.

Make People Aware of Work Hours

Have a clearly defined space for work. Close the door if this helps your family or housemates know you’re working. Place a sign on the door that you’re working or wear work clothes, so people know you’re at work. It’s about creating visual boundaries.

Workplace Communications

Set up regular video conferencing meetings through Zoom, Skype or GoToMeetings to maintain good workplace relationships. Touch base with the team regularly. Discuss your work objectives. Provide weekly feedback to each other to help build team morale and achieve your goals.

Set Time to Exercise

You need to get up and move. Take breaks every half an hour to move your muscles and reset.

It’s easy to get trapped in a desk to loungeroom cycle without ever leaving the house. Taking breaks and setting deliberate times to go for a walk, exercise at a local park, walk up and down the stairs in your apartment or, if you live in a house, do some gardening, will help break up your day and get your heart rate up.

And finally,

Protect Your Eyes

It’s important to limit the amount of exposure you have to screens, whether that be your computer screen for work, your TV or mobile devices. Prolonged exposure to blue light from your screens can cause eye strain, blurred vision, eye irritation, dry eyes and itching.

To help diminish the impact of blue light, position your workspace so that you’re not looking directly at a light source or in a position so that glare isn’t hitting your computer screen. Add a desk lamp to add a softer lighting and reduce glare. To avoid eye strain, increase the font size on your computer and turn the brightness down.

Drink lots of water to keep your body, including your eye tissue, hydrated. Blinking more helps keep your eyes moist, particularly if you wear contact lenses. If you notice that you’re not blinking very often regularly add lubricating eye drops to keep them moist.

Apply the 20-20-20 rule to restore some balance and help reduce digital eye strain. The rule is simple. Every 20 minutes you spend looking at a screen, look an object in the distance, 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This eye exercise will give your eyes a much needed break.

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